Posted by Jeffrey E. Wherry, CFP®, ChFC®, AIF® on Jul 12, 2021 9:00:00 AM
Planning for the future is important, and it's a big part of the life and work of a dentist.
Understanding what you can consider for your future, and what to plan for in the early phases of your career, can make it much easier for you to accomplish more.
Some dentists are very ambitious and want to open their own practice as soon as possible. Others may want to focus on learning a specialty or working for someone else while they raise a family instead. Whichever you choose, putting in the work is what matters.
One of the most challenging parts of understanding how to plan for the future as a dental student is choosing what you want from your future. You don't want to just skate along, because you need a direction.
But you also don't want to lock yourself into a direction you don't like or that isn't going to hold your interest. If you choose a specialty, for example, it needs to be one you're committed to.
Here's what to think about when making your plans.
Step 1: Define What You Want Your Future to Be
Asking yourself important questions about the future will narrow down your options and make them easier to work toward. These questions could be different based on your situation, but will likely include things such as:
- When do you want to retire?
- What does retirement look like?
- Will you pay for children to go to college?
- Do you have a family you want to support?
- Do you want to support charities?
These are very valuable questions. Some of these considerations might seem like a long way away, especially the questions about retirement, but if you plan for them now, you'll be in a better position throughout your career.
Remember, you can adjust plans along the way and adjustments are a lot easier than trying to establish goals and direction later in life. People who don't plan for their careers and retirement may face more hardship, simply because they're not prepared for the same challenges and goals.
Step 2: Determine the Most Important Milestones to That Future
Moving toward each milestone is something you can do this year, while you're still a student. Sometimes it feels like you have to wait until you're officially a dentist before you start making plans like one. Fortunately, there are all kinds of ways to set milestones and goals to work toward.
Those might look a little different for everyone, depending on what success and happiness look like for you. Think carefully and honestly about the milestones you want to focus on so that you can make plans and take decisive actions.
Step 3: Identify the Smaller Goals You Can Attain to Move Toward Each Milestone
There’s always something you can do to get closer to the milestones that are important to you. Consider your options, and reevaluate them often.
Even if it's just a small step, like making resume updates or changing your social media bio, there are ways to start moving closer to your goals and setting yourself apart. You don't need to wait for the "right time" to set milestones or goals.
Small goals are still a part of working toward the bigger goals. Every little step is one more that's closer to the future you envision for yourself.
Getting Started Is the Most Significant Part
Reaching out to people who have been where you are is a first step in moving toward the future you want. If you have a mentor, start working with them more frequently and directly. If you don't have a mentor yet, now's the time to start looking for one.
Reach out to the trusted advisors of Treloar & Heisel today, and let us help you with the insurance and protection you need for your dental practice. We know it can be stressful to work your way through dental school and into a brand-new career. The right people on your side can make all the difference, right now and in the long run.
Treloar & Heisel, Treloar & Heisel Wealth Management, and Treloar & Heisel Property and Casualty are all divisions of Treloar & Heisel, LLC.
Investment Advice offered through WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor doing business as Treloar & Heisel Wealth Management. Treloar & Heisel Wealth Management is a separate entity from The Wealth Consulting Group and WCG Wealth Advisors, LLC.
Insurance products offered separately through Treloar & Heisel and Treloar & Heisel Property and Casualty.